20th amendment will make SL democratic – JVP

Monday, 7 May 2018

The 20th amendment to the Constitution would be brought to make the country democratic by shedding its immoral and undemocratic features, said Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Propaganda Secretary and Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath yesterday.

He further said this objective could be achieved by abolishing the dictatorial executive presidency which was a pledge made by all the elected presidents prior to their election.

MP Herath went on to say that although most of the people criticise this move by the JVP for lack of knowledge, some others who lost power criticise the same vehemently as their hunger for power would not be able to be quenched in future.

He made these observations during a press conference held at the auditorium of the JVP headquarters.

MP Herath further said that some of the Venerable Theras too had been misled and had criticised the 20th amendment. He added after the 20th amendment to the Constitution, the President would be elected from Parliament, not like a candidate who is elected by the people’s vote. Some of the President’s powers would be vested in the Cabinet, while some would remain with the President himself. Following the passing of the amendment, the existing President would not be a nominal President, but would remain the same until January 08, 2020, as the 20th amendment would be implemented then.

“We suggest that Parliament should be dissolved on January 08, 2020,” Herath said. “Then a new Parliament, a new Cabinet and a new President could be elected under this fresh system. The new President should be elected from within Parliament within a month of the general election. Till then the existing President would remain in the same position.”

Herath also said that nobody need worry about national security, since the President himself is the Commander of the Tri Forces. He wouldn’t be a minister or the head of the Cabinet. However, the President could present Cabinet papers and also inquire about Cabinet decisions. “Some fear that there would be a possibility of dividing the country with the 20th amendment to the Constitution,” Herath said. “But we assure the Buddhist clergy that we would not allow that.”

He also said that the land powers and police powers of the President would remain unchanged with the 20th amendment to the Constitution. The President could reverse a declaration of a separate state by someone as the then President reversed Vardharajah Perumal’s resolution.

The sovereignty that is guaranteed by the Constitution would not be changed with the 20th amendment.

Herath added that President’s power of appointing commissioners and ambassadors should be changed to appoint them with the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers since the image of the country has been damaged in the past as thieves, corrupt people and relatives had been appointed to those positions in the past. He also added that the President’s power of pardon should be transferred to the Cabinet. Herath said that the JVP could not be influenced by the NGOs as many people alleged and requested the Buddhist clergy and other religious dignitaries to join them to make the country democratic and moral.

JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti was also present at the occasion.